AF Association
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I am a a vigorous exerciser ( 6 days ) I love my spin classes. After swimming last summer I got out of the water and my heart started racing at 160 bpm. I ended up in emerg and then was diagnosed with afib. The episodes them occurred every week. After seeing a cardiologist I went to Bisoprolol which didn't work then sotalol and then finally amiodarone which did work. Last spring I had an ablation and stayed on the amiodarone. I was able to do everything but had to come off the amiodarone in August. Felt great for a couple of months and the afib came back this weekend at night whilst sleeping , and am now back on the Bisoprolol and hate it because it slows my heart . In spinning I get it to 150bpm and this morning it barely reached 110 and I couldn't get up to speed !!

Anyone have any tips on this drug who are exercisers. I'm 63 and just retired. I don't want to stop what I'm doing!!!!

18 Replies

Which swimming stroke do you use? Would it be possible to change to another stroke or use different strokes on alternate lengths?

I swim three times a week (breast stroke) and use an exercise bike twice a week for 30 minutes. However, using a rowing machine has flipped me into AF in the past and I no longer use it.

I am on Bisoprolol 10 mg. It doesn't suit everyone.


I alternate my strokes for an hour once a week . But now I mainly spin for an hour. Or do resistance training. I think I have to give my body a week to adjust to the drug. Im amazed you feel okay in 10g a day of the Bisopolol! My 2.5 should be ok


What is spin?


Yes, What is spin?


I don't know what spinning is either!

Re bisoprolol, as my episodes of AF often started during the night I decided to take my 2.5 tablet before going to bed. This works well for me and others on this forum have copied me with success. It reduces my heart rate from about 80 to 65ish. My EP's registrar indicated recently that it also has a bit of an anti- arrhythmia effect. If I have AF then I take 100 flecainide as a pill in the pocket.

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Good to know! Thanks!


I can't really contribute much as have only taken bisoprolol once when in A&E to get my BP down and boy did it work! However, I can tell you all that spinning is 'indoor cycling'!!! :)


My personal opinion is that your body try to communicate something to you trough your heart , I know the sacrifices to give up on heart bits but what will happen if you create so many scares in your heart that it became unstoppable ?? My heart personally become very sensitive to exercises I'm taking bisoprolol 2.5 mg every day and Flecainide on my pocket in case of emergency I did give up on my tennis and cardio boxing....... I'm now walking allot 1 hr a day or more and do very light bike 3 x times at week but still my heart protest but very rarely on palpitations so fare one per year acceleration yes but not proper palpitation.

Amiodorone it's a powerful drog I would stay fare from it , Bisoprolol get very good reputation and although you'll be upset about my words you should thanks the tablet that it can still control your afib.

The body get his own ritm do not over clock it its not a good idea.

Please forgive my sincerity but I take care more about your health than your sport achievements ; )


Helpful article for those keen on exercise. Shows Max and target HR. Made me feel better as my lowest target HR is 75 (climbing stairs does that!) And highest is 128 (which maybe explains why 130 put me in hospital!) Also meds for heart conditions and BP affect targets.


Maximum heart rates vary from person to person and the 220 minus age = maximum heart rate (MHR) is OK for unfit people but it's too conservative for most aerobically fit people over 55. I'm just about to turn 69 and I use an 80% MHR of 155 bpm as that can be a trigger point for atrial fibrillation / atrial flutter.


I agree and my trainer would say that equation is too conservative for fit people. So you keep your heart rate max at 124 bpm ?? (80 percent of 155?)


Hi Cindy;

you mention that you reach 150bpm in your Spin class; what percentage of your maximum heart rate (MHR) was this? In a good Spin class, a race day or a sprint at the end of the class would reach 90% - 95% so 160 bpm might not be too far out of kilter. At 110 bpm what was your perceived effort; for example were you breathing hard, was it a "hill climb" session, a high cadence session? I would suggest that you work on perceived effort until your body adapts to the medication.

At 63 my MHR was 190; I'm just about to turn 69. In May 2014 I had a rare reaction to dronedarone that has kept my out of the gym except a short session this May. I've just started in the gym and my first cardio session of 56 minutes was an average of 151 bpm and a peak of 208bpm. My third session yesterday of 65 minutes was an average of 138 bpm and a peak of 163 bpm with a greater power output. So my current view is that if your working from a good fitness level as you are, your body can adapt if you let it. I should add that I'm only taking a weaning dose of prednisolone and amlodipine.

I know what you mean about a Spin class with a good instructor and music; dance on those peddles!!


According to the formula. At age 63, 90 percent puts me about 144 bpm. The perceived equivalent is 110 on the Bisoprolol !


The formula that I use is the following worked example for when I was 67 with a resting heart rate of 52 and a target maximum heart rate of 80%:

211 – (age x 0.64) = base

base - resting heart rate = heart rate reserve

heart rate reserve x target percentage heart rate = base 2

base + resting heart rate = target heart rate in beats per minute (bpm)

211 - (67 x 0.64) = 168

168 - 52 = 116

116 x 0.8 = 92.8

92.8 + 52 = 145

That works when I'm not in AF. When I am in AF a lower power output will see spikes at 200 - 220 bpm with an average of 160 - 170 bpm. AF during non-weight bearing cardio such as Spin, cycling, and rowing machines isn't a problem, but running is out of the question.

Your perceived effort is presumably because your lower heart rate isn't delivering the volume of oxygenated blood required by your muscles. Can you discuss this with an EP? Is it possible to have an echo cardiogram?

It would be interesting if the BHF carried out a study of people on bisoprol to see whether they would fail a tilt table test.


Hi I too used to spin 5 days a week and loved it . I still do but like you find it difficult to because the bisoprol slows me down . I also don't work as hard as before as I'm worried might go in to AF but I will continue to spin because I can no longer run my 50 miles a week 😢


I would try another drug. I didn't get in with beta blockers bisoprolol or sotalol. However I got on very well with the calcium channel blocker diltiazem, which has the same effect of limiting over clocking of your heart. It still enabled me to exercise quite hard and play hockey though.

Whatever you do, I would continue with the exercise, though. It really helped me cope with AF bouts. The blood flow to your body is reduced in AF, so if you are able to handle a high work load your body will cope much better with this.


Thanks for the info. I cannot give up my exercise or sports . I've been doing it all my life (maybe too much) ! I may just have to hear it down a notch.


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